Federico García Lorca’s poetry in English : translating the margins

  • Karen Angella Brown

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) boasts a rich textual afterlife through translation.
Thus far, academic research has largely neglected the study of the translated texts
themselves, particularly the repeated renderings of his poetry collections into English.
The current study seeks to address the imbalance by examining extracts from Lorca’s
three most frequently translated poetry volumes: Romancero gitano / Gypsy Ballads;
Poeta en Nueva York / Poet in New York; and Sonetos del amor oscuro / Sonnets of
Dark Love. Two of the most persistent features of contemporary discourses
surrounding Lorca are: first, the tendency to inquire whether prevailing perceptions
of him as a political figure are warranted, and second, a preoccupation with his critical
reception in the United States and Great Britain between the late 1930s and mid-
1960s, this being the inception point where Lorca the poet was opportunistically
transformed into Lorca the left leaning social justice activist. No doubt, the traumatic
circumstances of his death and the disappearance of his body at the start of the Spanish
Civil War fuelled such discourses, but recent studies have also claimed that Lorca’s
image has been manipulated for ideological and political reasons through the
translations themselves. This study interrogates whether such claims are justified in
the case of Lorca’s poetry in English. Its purpose is to investigate how the translators
have dealt with the overarching theme of social marginality that is already encoded in
Lorca’s œuvre. In so doing, the thesis also postulates a response to the implicit query
of whether the translated poetry evinces motives among the translators to control or
manipulate Lorca’s image for ideological and/or political reasons.
Date of Award1 Dec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorJavier Letran (Supervisor) & Jordi Larios (Supervisor)

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 26th April 2026

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